Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

13,764 Ratings
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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.

Added by brentk56 on 04-02-2006

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Reviews: 2,478 | Ratings: 13,764
Photo of sobuf
3.35/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My opinion of Sculpin? I don't know what the hype is about. In fact, I wouldn't buy it again. Especially for $16 for a 6 pack. It's actually a really good, really smooth, really flavorful beer. Until about 5-10 seconds after it goes down. Then that aweful, bitterness overcomes the mouth and has you cringing, waiting for it to pass until the next sip. But the bitterness just never leaves. It's a beer that COULD be amazing, but the bitter after-taste is completely off-putting. I love a super hoppy ale...but Im not a bitter fan. Give me fresh, springy, whole cone hops in abundance. But the ale better be complete with a fresh, crisp finish. This beer doesnt fit my bill. If you're a fan of bitter IPAs, then this beer is for you. But in my opinion, theres nothing world class about it - at all. Mye I've got used to the more malty backbones of DIPAs like Dirt Wolf, 90 minute IPA, etc. Although I'd even rank Southern Tier's IPA well ahead of this. Because its springy and hoppy, without being bitter and hard to finish. I might rate this offering slightly higher if at had a little more abv, at least I could start to feel good while choking it down. But I don't see what the hype is. It's an okay beer, but if you never had it, you wouldn't be missing much.

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Photo of BakaGaijin
3.36/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice golden colour. Slightly hazy.

S - Not as much as I would have liked. Light citrus, pine, hint of grass.

T- Same as the smell, a bit stronger flavours than the smell indicates, but not as much as I would have liked. The balance with the malt is nice. Pleasant finish. Alcohol is not very noticeable.

M - Decent

O - A good IPA, however, perhaps overrated.

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Photo of Holderness
3.38/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L -- vibrant pale orange. Slight haziness. Medium head with significant lacing
S -- mango, hops, lemon, nutmeg
T -- bitter hops and burnt orange. Very similar to lagunitas little sumpin sumpin but far too bitter
F -- crisp and heady. Pretty standard IPA
O -- I would purchase little sumpin sumpin instead

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Photo of kemoarps
3.4/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Much hazier than I expected, and with minimal head. pours almost more like a hefeweizen but with the head of a pilsner. Kind of underwhelming.

The nose is primarily sweet malts, with a little bit of floral hops in there as well.

Taste is well balanced; honey sweet malts with floral hops coming in followed up by a much more bitter citrus hop presence.

Low carbonation, but just enough zip to keep it interesting.

Overall, in a vacuum, this is a decent beer, but it had been hyped up so much that underwhelming is the word that keeps coming to mind. It's true it IS very well balanced and drinkable, but it lacks any wow-factor for me.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.4/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 12/28/2008 (bottle):

Pours a clear golden amber colored body. Big foamy white head, rocky with good lacing. Bubbly. Very piney citrusy aroma, grapefruit. Dry smelling. Watery body, malty taste, some nuttiness. Dry grapefruit aftertaste. Carbonated and drying aftertaste. More hoppy and bitter with only some balancing nutty sweetness. More balanced as it warms up.

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Photo of brewmeister1984
3.4/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure if this was an old bottle or not but was extremely disappointed with this one. Malt bomb with a strange aftertaste. The grapefruit version is a step up. I wish ballast point put bottling dates since I can't be completely sure. At any rate, wouldn't spend my money on this again.

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Photo of Shooter1960
3.41/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a tulip glass. poured an orange color with about a half inch of white foam. The smell was not noticeable. The beer did not have a particularly notable taste or mouth feel. The beer did leave a lacing on the glass. Overall I was disappointed. Was really looking forward to this since I found the strong hoppy flavor of Big Eye to be an incredibly enjoyable beer. I won't be buying Sculpin again buy will continue to try Balladt Point based on my experience with Big Eye.

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.43/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass:

First off this was a little dissapointing to me as i had been anticipating this being tremendous. I had a flower power prior to this and the flower power outshined this guy.

Pours a crystal clear, amber orange color with a big fluffy head and leaves soapy residue lacing. Tastes a touch flat to me, has a big hop bitterness with a lacking malt backbone, typical west coast style. Really this is a hoppy IPA, but its lacking balance. Mouthfeel is off as its too flat for me, dense bubbles leave the palate battered with the austere hop characteristics. drinkability is high on this as its got a realatively moderate ABV and would be nice on a hot summer day. not the best IPA i have ever had but still worthy by all means. not worth the 9.99 price tag though.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
3.44/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22-ounce brown glass bottle poured into a tulip glass. Served at approximately 40-45 degrees F.

Pours a beautiful deep golden hue, strikingly clear and with a fat frothy cap of white foam that leisurely settles to a thick crown that holds firmly to the walls of the glass, leaving behind a nice residue of lattice-like lacing.

After such a spectacular start, the nose fails to meet the promise that the looks seem to hold. A bit of pine, a touch of grapefruit, a hint of apricot and mango and the faintest biscuit -- but all of it subdued and boring.

Medium-bodied with a light-to-moderate carbonation, the feel is fine, but the flavors are just as subdued as the olfactory glands suggest. A touch of sweetish, slightly biscuity malt opens up to a palate that, despite touches of mango and papaya and swirls of grapefruit peel and flesh, is largely masked by an overriding harsh hop bitterness that is pervasive and extremely drying, almost puckering in nature. It dominates all, leaving behind a finish that is dryer than dust, leaving behind a lingering hint of bitter grapefruit pith.

For those interested in extreme bitterness or hyper-West Coast-style IPAs, this would likely hit the spot. Sadly, though, all of the greatness I've heard about this IPA is just not there, and that includes descriptions filled with rich fruity characteristics that, at least to this palate, simply do not exist to the extent that others have claimed. Perhaps this is a different beast when fresh, but right now it strikes me as just that -- a beast, and a bitter one at that. If you're looking for extreme bitterness in your brews, then by all means, this is sure to hit the spot. But if you seek nuance or big, bold flavor, look elsewhere.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.45/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoy by date 9/27/13.

Appearance: Light honey golden with great clarity. Thin off-white head.

Aroma: Big blast of orangey citrus and caramel malt.

Taste: Immidiate hop bitterness with a slight onion/earthy character (its less apparent later). There is, however, some nice pineapple and tropical fruit notes hidden under the unfavorable hop flavor. The bitterness is nice probably around 80 IBUs and the 7% ABV seems just about right considering the balance that the caramel malt is able to strike with the heavy hopping in this beer. A nice juicy quality that makes it go down real smooth. The flavor is definitely getting better as I get further into the beer. Started too earthy and is becoming more citrusy. Despite the strong bitterness in the taste, the aftertaste is quite calm.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body and almost creamy in its smoothness. Good drinkability.

Final Thoughts: I'm a hop head and IPAs are my go-to style but I find myself really dissapointed with this one. Was room temperature when I bought it and don't know how long ago it was bottled but expected better. Would I drink it again? Yes, I'll try to find it on-tap.

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Photo of Alias2325
3.46/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ok look, I'm not trying to be a beer snob or pile on or anything like that, buttttt I'm sorry this is not a 97 beer. What am I missing? It's easy to drink yes, but very little to offer in terms of smell, barely any hop taste, no bitterness... No way would I spend $15 on this again when I can get captain's daughter and sip for $15... Different style I understand just comparing price point. Maybe it's better on draft I dunno...

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Photo of sentomaster
3.47/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into a pint glass.

Bright and clear golden wheat pour with a one finger smooth head.

S- huge whiffs of pine and grapefruit. Grassy, earthy pine and all sorts of pink grapefruit. Hoppy indeed, no sweetness to be found.

T/M- follows the nose pretty darn close. Tons of pine and grapefruitey hops running the gamut from slightly floral and sweet, to earthy and bitter. It opens up and reveals a touch of lemon rind and tropical fruit. Really an IPA lovers IPA. Tough to find any sweetness in here. there's a hint of cracker like malt going on, but that's pushing it. I'm not a hophead so I really need more yin to this yang. It's not crazy bitter, but it really lacks any malt backbone.

O- Nice hopmonster if that's your bag, but that's just not my bag. It needs more balance than this.

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Photo of Drvitlkeyustolit80
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had 7/19/13 at Mom's Maxwell's on Main in Doylestown. I just don't love this beer like everyone else. Simcoe, and citrus are good, but the malt profile just doesn't agree with me. I actually, for once, approve of the fruity versions (pineapple, grapefruit) better than the original.

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Photo of CommonSense
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Support your local craft brewer. Even if it costs an extra buck or 2 for a 6-pack, it's worth it.

Better ingredients, better beer, better company.

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Photo of Bravak
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Seemed sorta oxydized, but was disappointed by the lack of substance compared to the outrageous price I paid. For the $$$, way better options locally.

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Photo of BillBabbitt
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

I know this a very highly rated IPA, but I am not a fan. I have tried this beer on tap and out of a bottle. It pours a beautiful golden color with a rich creamy head , but I find the aftertaste a bit harsh.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

A:pretty foamy head, rich tangerine color
S: a rich, fruity boquet, subtle hint of bitterness in the nose
T: bitterness is present but not overwhelming, sweet and fruity as the nose suggests, tangerine, a little bit of orange
M:creamy, silky at points
O: very enjoyable, a good, fun refreshing beer, there's nothing mindblowing here, nor should there be, it's not overly complex but as stated before it's a good solid palatable beer, a good entry point for IPAs due to it's relatively low bitterness

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Photo of thetomG
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sipping on this one as I type... form a bomber (obtained from foppa78 at DLD - thanks bro!) into my Dogfish Head signature glass.

Pours a mostly clear golden color with a nice fluffy white head. Aroma is solid but doesn't really blow me away. I'm picking up a bitter citrus almost slightly lemon flavor. Bubbly carbonation rules the palate at first with a more gentle smoothness on the finish.

Overall I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this. No doubt it is a great representation of the style, but I just didn't love it as much as I was hoping I would.

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Photo of JeffBlue
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

3/11/15 (Draft, revisited) at Lucille's BBQ in Long Beach. Great balance, citrusy smell, hemp/earthy hop underneath. Nice dryi finish. Classic west coast IPA. 4.25

1/25/16 (draft, Legends Sports Bar, Long Beach) Not the first time has the beer disappointed me. Lacking all the elements that make it a great beer. There are some grassy notes I picked up this time. Hoping this is an off batch.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First beer from Ballast Point.

Pours out a pretty clear, orange with yellow and a 1 finger white head.

Smells of citrus fruits and a slight hint of piney hops.

The taste is pretty standard. There are notes of grapefruit and orange with barely any taste from the malt and a nice dry finish that's pretty bitter. The body is a bit thin and the hops aren't overpowering in the least.

Not a bad beer, but not as hoppy as I was hoping for. Would like to try more from this brewery.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look - golden color, clear, with good carbonation and about two fingers worth of off-white fluffy foam that dissipates slowly.

Smell - lovely hop aroma. A hint of the mango is present as well.

Taste and Mouthfeel - I don't taste much of the "sting", but the hoppy taste is certainly there. There is a bit of a bite toward the end though. Only a little bit of the mango or orange is noticeable. The texture is pretty well balanced, but leans more toward the watery side.

Overall - not a bad brew. Love the hoppiness of it, although it's not terribly perplexing.

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Photo of cbn
3.52/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber, not so pale.lightly medical aroma soft with an edge. Massive pale malt richness, extended hoppy finish. First carbonation-hop bite, silky smooth body. Well crafted, greater than sum of parts.

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Photo of Doryman
3.52/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a perfectly fine, classic IPA, in fact, if there was a tastable IPA beer dictionary, you would probably find a pint of this beer under the definition of IPA. Not especially floral or fruity. It is suitably bitter, crisp and refreshing. I will always and happily drink one if offered but it really costs too much for me to ever buy it again. Thirteen dollars for a six pack? Really? It's not all that.

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Photo of neurobot01
3.52/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

First review, umpteenth beer.

Poured from 22oz bomber into pint glass, roughly 2 weeks after bottle stamp.

-Appearance: pretty nice deep orange/golden color, very little head, decent carbonation.
-Aroma: lots of citrus, with some earthy undertones.
-Taste: some citrus, though less than the nose suggests; lots of onion notes (and I'm not prone to onion--I don't get it on Enjoy By, for instance). Taste seemingly doesn't linger at all: feels very hollow, almost watery.
-Feel: pretty slick, nice prickly carbonation, but suffers from the same watery affliction as the taste.
-Overall: maybe my expectations were too high, but this beer was overshadowed by many beers, including a number of SIPAs and PAs.

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Photo of ChugginOil
3.53/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle marked "ENJOY BY 1/03/13

Pours a clear golden color with a finger of white head. There is a bit of lace randomly placed around the glass.

The nose is bringing some notes of pineapple and apricot, along with some citrus fruits and there is a bit of malt as well. Smelling pretty good.

The flavors of Sculpin are assertively hoppy with bitter notes of citrus rind, tropical fruits and caramel malt. I was hoping for a bit more of a "hop takeover" here.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and has a crisp carbonation level.

Overall, meh, decent IPA but i didn't see the 98/100 here. Or maybe my bottle is too close to it's ENJOY BY date.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,764 ratings.
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